A Bridge to the Stars (Joel Gustafson Series #1)

Overview

One of the world’s best-selling authors has written a moving story about a teenager’s life in Northern Sweden.

12-year-old Joel lives with his father in the cold northern part of Sweden. At night he often sneaks out of the house to look for a lonely dog he has seen from his window. On the bridge across the icy river he starts a secret society and has adventures. But one night he discovers that his father’s bed is also empty, and so he will have to come to terms with his father’s...

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A Bridge to the Stars (Joel Gustafson Series #1)

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Overview

One of the world’s best-selling authors has written a moving story about a teenager’s life in Northern Sweden.

12-year-old Joel lives with his father in the cold northern part of Sweden. At night he often sneaks out of the house to look for a lonely dog he has seen from his window. On the bridge across the icy river he starts a secret society and has adventures. But one night he discovers that his father’s bed is also empty, and so he will have to come to terms with his father’s newfound love. The harsh reality of Joel’s world comes vividly to life and leaves the reader spellbound.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The Swedish crime novelist, author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, gives a younger audience a sophisticated glimpse into a boy's psyche in this simple but captivating novel. Set in a secluded mountain town in northern Sweden in 1956, the story is full of quiet moments that fluently capture its protagonist's yearning to gain his footing in a lonely adult world he doesn't understand. Eleven-year-old Joel has questions that need to be answered. Why did his mother walk out on him and his father? If his father loves the sea, why are they holed up in the mountains? And why has his father started inviting big-breasted Sara, the loud waitress with the red hat, over for coffee? Instead of laying out each step Joel takes as he sorts things through, Mankell sends Joel on a series of thrilling midnight adventures, wherein he sneaks out of the house to search for a mysterious dog (and his own identity). Using his fertile imagination, Joel forms a secret society of explorers who share his mission and "grown-ups who think like children and act differently." His evolving relationship with his father and his encounters with local outcasts are refreshingly life-affirming, and by the end, readers can rest assured that Joel's journey, and their own, has been a fruitful one. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Henning Mankell's novel (Delacorte, 2007) is set in 1956 in an isolated logging town in the Swedish mountains. Eleven-year-old Joel Gustafson's mother abandoned him and his father when he was very young. The boy likes to spend time with his father, listening to stories about the days he spent as a seafarer, and dreams of going to sea when he grows up. One night he observes a lone dog outdoors and imagines that he is headed for the stars. Joel creates a secret society and begins sneaking out at night to look for the dog. Along the way, he runs into a few of the town's oddest people, including a mean-spirited older boy who encourages him to take part in pranks that make him uncomfortable. He also discovers that his father is having a sexual relationship with the waitress at the local bar. After attempting and escaping from a dangerous adventure, he gains some insight and becomes more understanding of his father's loneliness. Australian narrator Francis Greenslade's reading is pleasant, and there are musical interludes between chapters. This stark story leaves much unanswered and is sometimes repetitive and childish, yet is has mature themes and vocabulary.-Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY

From the Publisher
Praise for Mankell’s Kurt Wallander novels:
“The Nordic King of the European thriller writers.”
Observer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440240426
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Series: Joel Gustafson Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 964,301
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell was born in 1948 in Stockholm, Sweden. His Inspector Wallander novels are a prize-winning series, at the top of best-seller lists throughout Europe, and many of his books have been made into films.

Biography

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm in 1948. He is the author of many works of fiction, including the nine novels in the Kurt Wallander series. He has worked as an actor, theatre director, and manager in Sweden and in Mozambique -- where he is now head of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo.

Author biography courtesy of The Random House Group.

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    1. Hometown:
      Mozambique, Africa
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Stockholm, Sweden
    1. Education:
      Folkskolan Elementary Shool, Sveg; Högre Allmäna Läroverket, Borås

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